Free speech groups strengthen the right to public protest

Free speech groups strengthen the right to public protest

Hyde Park and Others v. Moldova

Free speech NGOs organised a series of protests in Chişinău. However, the authorities banned the events, giving reasons such as the fact that they disagreed with the point the protest was making. The European court ruled that the bans violated the right to free assembly. Following these cases, significant reforms were made to protect freedom of assembly in Moldova - such as new law which established much stronger protections for the right to hold public gatherings. Freedom of Assembly in Moldova is still being monitored by NGOs and the Council of Europe.

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Violations of right to peaceful assembly and fair trials in Ukraine: the Vyerentsov case

Violations of right to peaceful assembly and fair trials in Ukraine: the Vyerentsov case

In October 2010, Oleksiy Vyerentsov was arrested and sentenced to three days administrative detention. His crime: organising a peaceful demonstration in protest against corruption in the Ukrainian prosecution service. Left with inadequate time to prepare his defence, and deprived of the opportunity to consult with a lawyer, Oleksiy decided to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.

In its judgment, the Court found several violations of the European Convention including the right to peaceful assembly and the right to a fair trial.

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Violations of right to peaceful assembly in Turkey: The Oya Ataman case

Violations of right to peaceful assembly in Turkey: The Oya Ataman case

On 22 April 2000, Oya Ataman took to Sultanahmet Square,Istanbul, in protest against prison conditions in Turkey.  Despite posing no threat to public order, Turkish authorities subjected Oya and several of her colleagues to arbitrary arrest and repelled them with pepper spray, a nerve agent capable of causing respiratory problems, nausea, vomiting and spasms.

In December 2006, The European Court found a violation of article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, protecting the right to peaceful assembly.

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